Whether you’re having pork chops, potatoes or anything in between, there’s nothing as luscious as having the crunchy feel of food on one’s lips or palate. However, eating too much fried food can be detrimental to your health.
If you can’t stay away from fried foods but don’t want to suffer the effects of excess fat, there’s a simple solution to that- air fryers. They provide the flavourful goodness of fried food and none of the guilt feelings that come with eating greasy delicacies.
In the following post, we’ll explain exactly what an air fryer is, how it works and why you should invest in one.
The Anatomy of an Air Fryer
An air fryer consists of several components. Its main feature is a cooking chamber, which is equipped with a basket. This is where you place the food you want to air fry.
Underneath the cooking chamber there’s a heating element- this is the feature responsible for heating up the bottom surface of the chamber. There’s also a drip tray positioned below the cooking basket. This is used to trap fat and oil dripping from the food.
Another vital feature worth mentioning is a fan, usually located close to the top fryer. This is what circulates heat throughout the frying chamber. Also positioned at the top is an opening, allowing air to enter into the fryer.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
An air fryer works fairly similar to a convection oven. The fan blows air into the cooking chamber, which is then circulated speedily. This intense force of air generates a convection effect that cooks the food, giving it a crisp crust in the process.
Important to note is that no oil is required for the cooking process. Even though an air fryer also has a detachable basket, this does not mean that food is submerged into hot oil. Instead, the food in the basket is cooked using the heat created by air flowing around it.
What Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?
The truth is, there’s a wide range of foods you can prepare using your newly-purchased air fryer. Any food that you’d typically fry can be made cooked just as effectively using this kitchen appliance.
Not only is it suitable for preparing frozen foods but also your favourite from-scratch recipes such as potato chips and chicken wings. Other types of food you can cook using an air fryer include:
- Raw meats- if you want to roast chicken or pork, an air fryer is the perfect tool to use. Based on reviews, an entire chicken takes only about 30 minutes to get air fried.
- Veggies – if you’re a fan of grilled vegetables like cauliflower or capsicum, you will love the versatility of this cooking equipment.
- Baked products – some air fryers come equipped with non-stick baking dishes that can be used for baking small items like muffins, lasagna, small cakes among others.
The one drawback of using an air fryer is that you’re limited on the portion sizes. These cooking appliances are designed to be compact- an aspect that helps with the cooking process. Unfortunately, this also means that you can’t cook as much food as you’d like, not unless you invest in a large-capacity air fryer.
Why You Should Buy an Air Fryer
There are a couple of reasons why we recommend air fryers over deep fryers and other cooking appliances. These include:
The primary reason why you should consider purchasing an air fryer is that it results in healthier fried foods.
Most air fryers don’t need any oil to cook the food. However, you can always add a few teaspoons if you want to boost the food’s texture and flavour. The point is, even if you’ll add oil, you’ll only need to add such a tiny amount.
Compared to the amount of oil that’s used for deep-frying foods, this is a significant difference and helps you consume fewer calories. The resulting air-fried food will also have less saturated fat.
The Convection Concept
Another advantage of this piece of equipment is the fact that it employs convection to cook food. This results in food being cooked faster, uniformly, neatly and completely so you don’t end up with raw sections.
And even though it’s not the fastest cooking appliance, it’s more timely compared to the conventional gas and electric ovens.
No Preheating Required
One of the reasons why food gets cooked faster in an air fryer is the fact that there’s no preheating needed. To understand the difference, we’ll compare it to a regular oven. Let’s say that you’re planning to cook some frozen french fries in the oven.
Usually, you’d have to preheat it to a whopping 400 degrees or more, and this will take at least 10 minutes. You’ll then need another 18 to 20 minutes to bake them. With an air fryer, the entire process takes only 10 minutes, and you’ll end up with the same tasty, crispy fries cooked to perfection.
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to add any oil into an air fryer, if you don’t wish to. Apart from the healthy cooked food, another benefit of the no-oil process is that you won’t have any greasy, obnoxious mess to clean up.
Does your child like having chicken nuggets with a side of french fries? Well, this air fryer can help you cook both items simultaneously. Sure, you can use a divider that’s included with some air fryer baskets. But when you’re preparing such culinary classics, there’s no need to cook them separately.
It’s a no-brainer that air fryers cook foods faster than traditional ovens. What this means is that it also uses less electricity. Better yet, you don’t have to dispose of a considerable amount of grease or oil and this also helps the environment.
How to Get The Most From Your Air Fryer
Purchasing the best air fryer is the first step to enjoying healthy air-fried food. Still, there are a couple of things you can do to make the most of this appliance:
Although you can cook a ton of foods in this tool as it is, using inserts triples its efficiency. The accessories that come with your air fryer not only increase the opportunities of what you can make but also help you prepare these things better.
Choose your air fryer over the microwave
Typically any meal you’re thinking of preparing in your microwave will cook better in an air fryer.
This handy appliance can re-crisp, re-melt and restore the flavour of food without giving it the rubbery texture you get from microwaved foods. This applies to leftovers as well as refrigerated and frozen foods.
Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket
Even if you’re in a hurry, it’s not good to fill the cooking basket to the brim. Doing so can create spots where the hot air fails to reach, meaning that food won’t cook as evenly as it should.
An air fryer employs almost the same cooking mechanism as a convection oven. It swirls hot air in a compacted space, creating a convection effect that cooks food quickly and evenly.
Unlike deep fryers, air fryers cook food using little to no oil- an aspect that results in much healthier food. Air fryers are also easier to clean up, multifunctional and environmentally-friendly. If you’re considering buying this appliance, here’s a detailed review of the best air fryers.